SGF challenges Senate’s invitation in court, says he won’t appear on Thursday

The secretary to the government of the federation, Babachir Lawal has gone the way of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali by turning down an invitation of the senate ad hoc committee on the humanitarian crisis in the north-east.

Lawal was scheduled to appear before the committee on Thursday over allegations of corruption levelled against him.

But on Wednesday, he wrote to Shehu Sani, chairman of the committee, that he would not be available for the hearing because he had gone to court to challenge the invitation.

“I wish to kindly request that you draw the attention of other members of the committee that I will not be able to appear before the committee primarily because I have gone to court to challenge the invitation among others,” he wrote.

In December 2016, the upper legislative chamber accused Lawal of mismanaging funds for internally displaced persons in the north-east.

The committee in its interim report alleged that the SGF, through the Presidential Initiative on the North-east (PINE)‎, which he headed, awarded a contract of N270m for the cutting of grass in Yobe state to a company he had interest in.

‎It also alleged that Lawal awarded other contracts to his cronies.

The senate then called for his resignation.

But President Muhammadu Buhari dismissed the report of the committee on the grounds that Lawal was not given a fair hearing.

Owing to the intervention of the president, the senate committee invited Lawal to appear before it on Thursday to clear‎ the air.

But he has declined the invitation.‎